Every time I walk into Alvar, I’m greeted with excellent music and a mind-boggling selection of beers. The venue enjoys freedom of choice in the products it sells, meaning you’ll find much more than just your standard Finnish line up. There are around 70 beers on offer, which always makes for a difficult choice. The knowledgeable staff are happy to help you with your selection if you want to try something new, and with four fresh products set flowing through Alvar’s 12 taps (10 beers, 2 ciders) every few weeks, there’s always fertile new ground for the taste buds.
Luckily, once the hard task of deciding is done, you can reward yourself by relaxing into the cosy setting, which feels more like a second living room than a bar. The comfortably eclectic collection of furniture, along with the respectable selection of board games and friendly service, has made Alvar one of my favourite bars in Turku- always at the top of my list when friends suggest catching up over a beer.
The living room feel of Alvar is no accident. Ed Crozier and his staff aim to offer customers a “chirpy atmosphere”- a place to be able to relax, talk and share conversation during the week. On the weekend, the music gets a little louder and a generally younger crowd swing the mood towards a low-key, low-energy house party.
The living room feel of Alvar is no accident.
Music is a key aspect of the Alvar experience. I have a distinct memory of walking in at 3pm one Wednesday afternoon, only to be treated to the entire Grease soundtrack. “I think each worker shows their own personality through their choice of music,” says Ed. “We each like to play different things, and there’s a very diverse mix of tastes.”
Alvar first opened its doors in November 2005 and ex-Londoner Ed has been on staff since the venue’s second day of trading. Now in his ninth year as Alvar’s manager, Ed says that one of the best parts of working there is the people he works with. “We’re like a little family.” The harmony and ease amongst the staff is reflected in the customer service and the bar as a whole, and keeps many customers returning.
As Alvar approaches its twelfth birthday, I look forward to many more afternoons and evenings in that cosy living room, enjoying the perfect combination of good beer and good music with good friends.